Posts Tagged ‘Caster Semenva’
Perhaps you’ve heard of the world-class South African runner Caster Semenva (on the right in photo). Last week, she won the gold medal in the women’s 800 meters at the world championship games in Berlin. And then, someone—no one’s saying who—challenged her victory on the basis of gender. In other words, “She’s not a woman, he’s a man.”
Now to we non-scientists, this seems like a simple question. Turns out it’s difficult (not to mention humiliating for an 18 year old girl). From the New York Times:
It requires a physical medical evaluation, and includes reports from a gynecologist, an endocrinologist, a psychologist, an internal medicine specialist and an expert on gender. The effort, coordinated by Dr. Harold Adams, a South African on the I.A.A.F. medical panel, is being conducted at hospitals in Berlin and South Africa.
Why all the fuss? Either she is or she isn’t, right? Read on:
In the end, it’s a judgment call.
Which brings to mind the subject of sexual orientation (though, far as I know, it’s not a question Semenva has raised). Many of my good friends are convinced that gay men and lesbian women should remain celibate, for (they say) homosexual sex is “un-natural.”
But if an individual has both male and female characteristics, with which gender, my friends, is he or she to be prohibited from marriage? What is natural?
Even more, what dozens of unknown psychological aspects of sexual identity and behavior might this combined physical identity bring about? What aspects of it might never appear physically but influence sexual preference?
So I wonder. How can we, who understand all this so very little, legitimately insist upon legal or theological control over the sexual destiny of people who are personally—perhaps even unknowingly—involved in these mysteries? If scientists can’t conclusively say whether an athlete should race as a male or a female, how could we amateur theologians possibly know enough to judge who should be attracted to whom?
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Written by Monte
August 22, 2009 at 1:37 pm
Tagged with 800 meter, 800m run, athletes and gender, Caster Semenva, female runners, Gay, gay marriage, gay marriage and the church, gays and evangelicals, Gender, gender identification, glbt, GLBT and Bible, GLBT christians, Homosexuality, IAAF, International Association of Atheletic Federations, Lesbian, runners, Sex, Sexual identity, Sexual orientation, Sexuality, South Africa, sports and gender, track and field, track stars, Transgendered, women runners, world championship games